Appointments for vaccine fill quickly

At 9 a.m. Tuesday operators at the Mesa County Health Department began taking appointment calls for people wanting to be vaccinated against the H1N1 virus.

About 35 minutes later, all the appointments were filled.

Another shipment of vaccine is anticipated to arrive next week, according to the health department.

Taking appointments was a change from the department’s H1N1 clinics of the recent past, when people would line up outside on the days health officials had vaccine available. The health department’s new appointment method for distributing vaccinations, however, is not viewed as a permanent practice.

“We will have to evaluate if this is the best way to provide the service,” said Kristy Emerson, health department spokeswoman. “We know how many vaccinations we have, so we know how many we are able to give.”

Having people make appointments also eliminates the frustration of waiting in line only to have the department run out of vaccine before their number is called, Emerson said.

Those who were able to make an appointment on Tuesday, either over the telephone or online, will get vaccinated today between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

The appointments and the vaccinations are only for residents who fall within one of the following categories:

Pregnant women;

People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months old;

Health care and emergency workers with direct patient contact;

Children 6 months to 4 years old;

Children 5 to 18 years old who have chronic medical conditions.

Emerson urged people who fall into one of the at-risk groups, who are eligible to get a vaccination, to keep checking the county health department’s Web site, or call the department for an update about when the next batch of vaccine will arrive. She also strongly suggested double-checking that the vaccine is still available before visiting the health department for an appointment.

To check the availability of vaccinations, or for other information about the flu, call the health department at 248-6989, or visit the health department on the Web at http://www.health.mesacounty.us.


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